Central City Concern's Medical Director Receives National Award
Rachel Solotaroff, Medical Director for Central City Concern, located in Portland Oregon, received the Karen Rotondo Award for Outstanding Service today at the National Healthcare for the Homeless Conference that draws more than 800 medical and housing professionals from across the country. The award has been bestowed since 1996 and was renamed in honor of Massachusetts nurse Karen Rotondo in 2013.
The award recognizes hands-on caregivers who demonstrate vision and creativity in advancing the goals of ending and preventing homelessness, and who have made a significant contribution to improving the health and quality of life of people experiencing homelessness.
Dr. Solotaroff has worked at Central City Concern since 2006. In addition to leading Central City Concern’s Old Town Clinic, a Federally Qualified Health Center, serving about 4,000 patients yearly, Dr. Solotaroff has led the development of a chronic pain program, which has become a local and national model for its innovative and effective approach to addressing chronic pain among homeless patients with histories of addiction.
Her dual role as CCC’s Medical Director and faculty at OHSU helped develop the Social Medicine Curriculum for OHSU residents, through which all Internal Medicine residents rotate through Old Town Clinic twice. Dr. Solotaroff currently spends 18 – 20 hours a week as a physician seeing patients during daytime and evening clinic at Old Town Clinic, in addition to her Medical Director role, leadership of the agency as part of the senior management team and involvement in many projects with community partners.
Dr. Solotaroff has been responsible for leading Old Town Clinic into a new model of care, the patient-centered primary care home model. This model is based on care teams dedicated to building long term supportive relationships with their assigned patient panels with the goal of not simply providing services, but improving health and life outcomes.
Last year, the Old Town Clinic primary care home model was recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as a national exemplary practice of “patient-centered health care” through the “LEAP Project,” an acronym that stands for “Learning from Effective Ambulatory Practices.” The clinic was one of 30 clinics nationwide selected for this recognition.
CCC’s Leslie Tallyn, Senior Director of Clinical Operations and Quality, said “Rachel is the heart, soul, and conscience of Central City Concern’s health care programs. She sees the forest and the trees, linking the individual experiences of her patients to big, systems-level issues, and her systems-focused work to what she hears in the exam room every day from patients. She challenges us every day to be the health system our patients deserve, the best health system we can be.”
Dr. Solotaroff earned her BA from Brown University and her Doctor of Medicine with Honors from Dartmouth College. Central City Concern’s mission is providing comprehensive solutions to ending homelessness and achieving self-sufficiency. It serves approximately 13,000 people yearly with healthcare, housing, peer support and employment in the Portland metro area.